My Parents Shop for Graves

‘Flower Skull’ Rachel Caldwell

Friday dusk–
Purple and pink bruises
make moonshine along backyard fences.
I’m wrapped up in winning
the weekly boxing match
when you two stop by
dressed in Sunday clothes,
earrings, and easy smiles.

Hugging me like you did when I
was small, sick and unable to rest.

I’d invite you in but there’s laundry,
dishes and uncut grass.
That’s okay, you have an appointment —
picking graves.
It’s to make it easier for us.
Take the guesswork out of grief.

Friday night?
Would you pick caskets
the following evening?
Ruminate on the material
of your headstones over coffee?
Debate the merits
of various linings over lunch?

Then it occurred to me
the ignorance of anger.
The appalled ego backfires pain.
I wanted only to experience
the afternoon of my life,
unaware that to hug each of you,
was to know the eternal love
the sun casts earth.
I watched you both drive away
while you embrace your own sunsets.

© khartless 2022, All Rights Reserved

Flashback Track #59 asks us to share a genre of music you love. I love many genres of music, but it may surprise my readers to learn I have a special place in my heart for country music. One of my first trips out of Virginia was to Nashville, Tennesee to see the Grand Ole Opry. I saw Loretta Lynn with my mother a few years back and it was such a special moment. Likewise, I will always think of my father when I hear CCR, and so to honor both my parents, I’ve included two tracks to enjoy. Do tell, what genre of music is in your heart?

Also, one of the first songs I learned to play on my guitar.


  1. This is excellent, and I can certainly relate because I’ve picked out where I want to be when I pop my clogs. It’s a totally eco-thingy. Wicker coffin that decomposes. Everything is natural. Lots of green and trees. I can rest easy there. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    • When this moment happened; I wasn’t able to see it; but now, I understand their peace of mind and their enjoyment of this time of their lives. Your place sounds peaceful, calm and aligned with your energy, and still I hope for you to be here much more time to enjoy your wisdom and words.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My friend who passed away recently, she knew she was going to die of cancer. I don’t think she knew it would be this soon. But she told me an amazing story (this was when we had coffee together in November last year) about a friend who had taught her the value of acceptance. My wonderful, brave friend took it on board. She planned her own funeral and wrote her own Eulogy to save her partner when he would be in pain. Your parents sound kind of amazing. This is a beautiful poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I absolutely understand wher your parents are coming from. We all experience death sooner or later, and there can be a comfort in planning for our final wishes. You write about it so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, dear Hobbo. It is a bit like getting to grieve early, but it it is also a reminder to cherish moments that we still have. I really appreciate you connecting with my poem. I am grateful for all the lessons my parents continue to teach me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was such a shock to me, as a mother, to watch them go out for this shopping task. I went through all the emotions I am sure anyone coming to face death and grief does. But, in the end there was only pure love. I can only imagine the whole process more brutal when it is unexpected. Thank you for connecting with me and my piece, David. 💜


  4. Of course as parents we want to make the difficult things easier for our children – this is so poignant K, so well expressed.
    ‘I watched you both drive away
    while you embrace your own sunsets.’

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very poignant verses on confronting life’s uncomfortable truths – really takes the sting out of facing the inevitable and accepting that it’ll happen someday ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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